Whenever the topic of how long a particular drug stays in the human system comes up, there are two directions in which the conversation can go. The conversation could flow towards health concerns, or it could flow towards fears of drug testing for legal reasons.
For this article, the focus will fall on how long do benzos stay in your system. The discussion will address both of the directions, as mentioned above, in which the conversation could go.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, serve as central nervous system depressants, which help control and regulate certain body functions. These substances are typically prescribed by doctors to address anxiety disorders, sleep issues, and neurological disorders like epilepsy, causing seizures. They are also useful in the treatment of alcoholism.
As for dangers, benzos are highly addictive and easy to secure as illicit drugs on the streets. Of all the prescription drugs that fall into this category, Xanax is the most popular medication, often used by recreational drug users because of the euphoria and state of relaxation the drug creates. When taken with alcohol, these substances can pose serious health threats.
How Long Do Benzodiazepines Stay in Your System? Health Concerns
When looking at how long any drug stays in the human system, it’s not an exact science. Several factors warrant consideration when looking at the science. The list of these factors includes but is not limited to:
- Which benzodiazepine is being taken
- The individual’s medical history
- Individual statistics like age, height, ethnicity, and weight
- The regular dose as prescribed by a doctor
- How the drug is taken
- The presence of other drugs in the body
When looking at how long do benzos stay in your system, the most crucial factor to consider is the type of benzo. For the following discussion, we’ll focus on six benzos: Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Halcion, and Ambien.
Note: The drug’s half-life will measure any drug’s effect timespan. Half-life represents the amount of time it takes the human body to metabolize and dispose of half of the drug’s active ingredients. Most drugs require as many as five half-lives to remove most of the drug’s active ingredients from the body, though minuscule traces may remain much longer.
After measuring how long specific benzos stay in the system, each drug falls into three categories (with associated benzos listed)
- Short-acting (Halcion, Ambient)
- Intermediate-acting (Klonopin, Xanax, Ativan)
- Long-acting (Valium)
How Long Do Benzodiazepines Stay in Your System? Legal Concerns
When someone is looking for a job, incarcerated, or reports for addiction treatment, they immediately become eligible for drug testing. It will be up to the authorities in charge to determine how and how ofter each individual will get testing.
Back in the day, the only two reliable forms of drug treating required blood or urine samples. In recent years, advancements in testing technology have allowed drug testers to use perspiration, hair follicles, and saliva as a means of drug testing.
Still, law enforcement and drug addiction administrators prefer urine testing because acquiring urine samples is easy, and the results are ready within a reasonable short time. The process measures metabolites as they are being filtered through the kidneys while fairly accurate for up to a few weeks.
Using a urine test, traces for the medications mentioned above can be detected as follows (shortest period to longest period):
- Halcion: 7 – 15 hours
- Ambient: 1 day
- Xanax: 5 days
- Klonopin: 5 days
- Ativan: 5 days
- Valium: 10 – 30 days
Addiction Treatment for Benzo Addiction
As mentioned above, most benzos are highly addictive. For that reason, a lot of drug rehabs will be treating treat benzo addicts at any particular time.
For most clients, the treatment process will start with a detox program. This is usually necessary because benzo addicts are likely to encounter some very significant withdrawal symptoms within hours and days of taking their last dose. A good detox program will allow each client to deal with their withdrawal issues under medical professionals’ watchful eye. Should any client start to experience pain and or discomfort, a doctor is usually standing by to prescribe the proper relief medication.
With a clear mind and body, clients are usually ready to start therapy. Therapy consists of working with a therapist or group of therapists to find the root causes of the client’s addiction. Finding the root cause or causes plays a crucial role in helping clients develop coping and life skills they will need to help them achieve a lasting recovery from benzo addiction.
Hopefully, you will find knowing how long do benzos stay in your system to be useful information. If you are dealing with an addiction issue to benzos or any other drug by chance, we hope you will reach out for help sooner than later.